S. G. A. R. E. - Strategy game: A Risky Era

I tried to put enough instructions in-game so that it'd be playable even without these, but feel free to read on if you feel curious. This is also my first jam-game ever, and also my first game ever even though I wouldn't call this finished. Feedback is appreciated!

The game is mostly about building buildings efficiently. Be careful, you may also trap yourself so that you can't build anything more, but this shouldn't happen too easily.

Controls

Everything is done via the mouse, and only the left mouse button is used for clicking.

You can move the map by holding the left mouse button and dragging the mouse around. The map will follow.

You build buildings by dragging-and-dropping them from the deck on the bottom on map on tiles owned by you (the red-tinted ones in the left corner of the map around your mine and parliament house (referred to as castle in-game)). Some rules apply to buying new buildings:

  • You have to have as much or more money than the cost of the building. You can see the cost on the bottom of the building card under the icon of the building.
  • You can't build on water and other buildings
  • You can build only inside the area you own
  • Some buildings may be built only on specific terrains or not on some terrains. Mines must be placed on top of those blue dirt piles. (I think I forgot to mention it in-game...) Many buildings can't be placed in forests and barracks must be placed in forests. (see the building list below)
  • Roads can only be built next to other roads or buildings
Money, Military and Territory

You get more money from buildings that produce energy. The money per minute can be found below in the Building info.

You earn military points the same way: buildings produce them. Only military buildings produce them, though.

You get more territory by building roads. When you build a road, the road claims all 8 tiles around it as yours.

Known Issues

Have you found an issue? Please tell in the feedback and I'll add it here!

  • In fullscreen mode, the building deck responds to clicks from the wrong place on the screen.
  • Probably the ending

Building info

Building
Cost
Build time (s)
Military / Money per minute
Limitations / additional information
Road
1
0
0
Must be next to road
Mine
7
30
5 money
Can only be placed on a mineable tile (tile with a dirt pile with blue things in it)
Barrack
5
60
1 military
Must be placed in forest
University
15
60
0
Can't be in forest. Unlocks Nuclear plant building when built.
Plant
30
60
12 money
Can't be placed in forest. Unlocks Nuclear Missile (Nuke) building when built.
Nuke
20
120
10 military
Can't be placed in forest.

Ending and theme

I don't know whether the ending works or not. I don't vem know that it happens. It should happen at some point when nukes are involved in the game, but it is uncertain. That is kind of a shame, because the ending is the whole ioimt with the game... It was the last thing I did, so I did it in a hurry and didn't have time to test it properly. The point of the game is though that maintaining peace with nukes is probably not a very good idea, even though we seem to be doing it nowadays.

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  • Riuku
    Lv. 18

    I'm afraid I wasn't able to trigger the ending of the game! I played it twice and on the second time I even let it sit for a good twenty minutes, just gathering money and military power, but nothing seemed to happen unfortunately. But I enjoyed it regardless, even if it didn't really present a challenge as far as I understood it. It was fun clicking around and finding out about the rules and restrictions. I love the visual of the small world floating around in a void. A shame that the ending bugged out or something, as you've discovered as well, but hey, that happens :D Great job anyway!

    Paint Fast
    Submitted

    Paint Fast

  • arthurgps2
    Lv. 8

    Doesn't seem like your first game, because this is actually too well made for a first game lol. The graphics fit nicely and it was fun trying to figure out what each stuff does. And it's a tile-based strategy game, that's pretty hard to make, especially in a 48-hour jam.
    Also right now I think I'm pretty much done with the game but it doesn't seem to have an ending like you said :(

  • Allison James
    Patron

    It's impressive to attempt a strategy game for a 48 hour game jam, but I definitely think you overscoped - there were a lot of ideas at play that were a little underdeveloped overall, which means I think this would be a great game for you to keep working on, with a lot of potential to be amazing, but fairly unintuitive and incomplete as a gm48 entry.

    Stuff I'd consider:

    • For dialogue boxes (the intro/tutorial basically), make it so you can click once to "complete" a text box before you skip to the next line of dialogue. Having to wait for each one to fill itself in meant I had to keep waiting for it to finish, and made taking in that information harder. I ended up just reopening the description and relying on that.
    • Cut down any features that are unnecessary until they are necessary. For example, in this iteration of the game, you can pan the inventory left and right even though as far as I can tell you never fill it up horizontally. (This is best to keep in mind for future jams, although it's good to know how to do it so you can implement it later down the line.)
    • Generally, for jam entries, keep it as intuitive as possible. Even with explainers, the fact that buildings could only be placed on certain tiles requires a fair amount of thought - I needed to learn 1) how to make money to afford buildings, then 2) how to place buildings, then 3) why I should place buildings where for a strategic advantage, and 4) where each building can go. This is the level of learning that most game players would put into a game they are specifically investing time into, but when we're going through 10+ entries, it's a lot to take in.

    Good points - your style is really good, and the graphics all fit together well. The font/text was decently readable for how low resolution it was. And you did good to keep everything to the mouse - that helped keep things a little grounded at least 😄

    This isn't bad, and it isn't wasted effort at all. Keep working on it, if you can, or at least store what you've learnt and apply it to future games. And kudos on the ambition - strategy is a hell of a genre to undertake for a month-long contest let along a two-day jam, and even though I don't think this is currently as fully formed as it needs to be, I still thoroughly respect the effort!

  • Yosi
    Lv. 39

    This is a pretty cool game! The AI was quite good :)

    epic game
    Submitted

    epic game

    • jhmikael
      Lv. 2

      Thanks :) I had no time to program an AI, I just changed the sides temporarily, made GMS2 log all my moves, played the game at the same time as I wrote the instructions (I didn't have a lot of time left), copied them into the code and made the "AI" repeat them xD

  • Jaspo
    Lv. 13

    Interesting game, seems like it incorporates an impressive amount of things for 48 hours. The tutorial is a bit long-winded but the game itself looks and plays nice. However, it appears there's no win condition and also I wonder if the lose condition doesn't work either; at one point the AI was very far ahead of me militarily and that didn't cause me to lose. If it showed what the strength of the enemy was, and what the losing threshold was, that would be helpful.

    • jhmikael
      Lv. 2

      Well, the ending was the last thing I had time to work on, and that time was clearly not enough. I had no time to test it and had to submit the game without knowing what would happen in the end.

      The leaders were supposed to get mad at each other and fire all the nukes. The message at the end of the game would have been that it probably isn't a great idea to maintain peace through the fear of nuclear war. The code for the endings can still be found from the project files, I even tried to make nice nuke effects even though they cant bee seen.. );

      Thanks still for the feedback! I'm happy I got at least the game mechanics finished, even though there would have been a lot of things I'd have liked to add.

  • Tydecon Games
    Patron

    A nice foundation, I'm reminded of a pixel art style forge of empires meets early sim city - I think it was a very slow start and could use some sound and a bit faster pacing to set the scene better with this but you have solid foundations to expand on here so if you do continue this after the jam there are so many avenues you can explore with this :)

  • HOPL
    Lv. 2

    The art for this game is beautiful, great work on making everything work together so well artistically.

    The drag and dropped worked great once I got a hang on how to get it to work. Great job on the opening dialogue and instructions written in the description, it helped a ton.

    Overall this is really well made for a 48 hour game and I'd love to see where you take it from here

  • A Beast of Prey
    Lv. 7

    The Game is pretty fun. Seeing your City grow is great and all but I reached the point where it seems do be impossible to do anything. You just watch numbers to go up. Apparantly the ending implies that its not good to rely on nuclear ressources to live in peace. A topic that is even relevant right now. Thats neat. The Game does not actually need much improvement except for the mentioned ending that seems to work not consistently. I dont know if that is on purpose or a bug, but there is no music or noise? (my volume was at max)

    • jhmikael
      Lv. 2

      Yeah, that was supposed to be the message. Now when I have tested the game after submitting I haven't seen the ending work a single time, and that's kind of a shame, because that would have been the thing to deliver the whole point of the game. Also there is no music and sound effects, all my time went to this.

  • ZenithTheReborn
    Lv. 2

    An incredibly ambitious first game, especially for a 48 hour jam game. I applaud the attempt at a 4X, they are some of my favorite games and a type of genere that rarely if at all gets explored in a Jam setting. One of my first games I ever attempted to make was a 4X Game space game so I understand the technical struggles you must have gone through to make this.

    Even though I had read the instructions, I still had tried to click the bottom options like buttons rather than dragable items. The lack of feedback made it difficult for me to know if what I was doing was working or not. The color choice for the players was also not good, as I confused the AI for myself because I associated blue with good, so it took me a while to realize I was playing on the wrong side of the board.

    The text was down right impossible for me to read, and I had to rely on brute force in order to learn the game mechanics. When I did learn it, I found a suprisingly in depth strategy game that reminded me a little bit of an older 4X game known as Enemy Nations, it too had tile-based building placement restricted by resources present that built slowly over time by workers present.

    I would encourage you to challenge yourself to learn free audio tools for sound effects and music to add some audio feedback for your game. I use Bfxr to generate 8-bit sounds for some of my projects, and I would encourage you to find a DAW that works best for your work flow... if you are looking to make retro-sounding music I would encourage you to learn how to use a tracker. You can find recommendations at the end of the video I linked.

    Congrats on your first game jam! My first jam entry was not too long ago (was for Ludum Dare 50) and was incredibly difficult for me. You'll find, as I did, that each subsequent attempt at any jam gets easier as you do it.

    Mailcall
    Submitted

    Mailcall

    • jhmikael
      Lv. 2

      I got indeed in a hurry with getting this done, so that's why some things are missing. I would have added music, sound effects and some more juice to the menus if I had had more time. Interesting video you linked, anyways!

      It seems that the text was hard to read for many people, I guess I should really make it better next time. I will also focus on making clear instructions. Thank you for the feedback!

  • poontangular
    Lv. 2

    This game has a lot of potential.

    Things I liked:

    The angle you've set the game on looks really cool, and the tiling system is nice.

    It's very simplistic and with slightly more guidance, could be really easy to understand.

    Your first game is much better than my first game lol.

    Things I didn't like:

    It wouldn't always let me place structures (even with enough money).

    It felt like it was going to take ages to get to the end, and due to not being able to place enough structures I felt like I was unable to speed up the process.

    The text boxes were cool, but a lot of it was slightly mis-aligned or had had the resolution reduced perhaps during rendering? So a lot of it was hard to read.

    The left mouse to scroll didn't always work, and it kept assuming I was trying to click on a button.

    • jhmikael
      Lv. 2

      Thank you for the feedback! This was far from the first game I have tried to make, I just have never before finished anything. (If this can be called finished.)

      Did you play in fullscreen mode? That could explain your issues with the controls. It thinks in fullscreen mode that the bottom menu starts higher than it actually does.

      Now after finishing the game and sleeping a little bit I too see that more in-game explanation would have been helpful. I guess it wasn't a too good idea to hard code the AI by playing the game as the opposite country at the same time as I wrote the start monologue. The buildings also had terrain limitations, and I should have made that clearer. Many of them were also kind of unnecessary. They are listed now in the description.

      I like your point on the game taking a long time to play due to problems with the buildings. I think a part of the reason is also that money producing is really slow in the start and it gets a lot faster when building new buildings. I tried to make the nuclear plants and nukes more expensive to compensate for this, but it clearly wasn't enough, and too expensive nuclear plants would have led to mines being more effective, which I didn't want. Maybe a system where mines would have produced only a certain amount of money that could be used and freed with deleting buildings could have worked.

      Next time I make a game I will probably look into text rendering and fonts more. This was a pretty temporary solution (read: bodge) as I had to hard-nose the newlines. The messy text was probably due to the low resolution, inappropriate font and anti-aliasing turned off. Having anti-aliasing on made the text blurry so that it didn't fit the game graphics.

      ... sorry for the messy comment, I wrote this on my phone.